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Deputy Mayor Throws His Hat Into Los Angeles Mayoral Race

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner joined the race Thursday to become the next mayor of Los Angeles.

Beutner told Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa that he plans to step down from his position as deputy mayor to focus on the campaign and filed paperwork with the City Ethics Commission so he can begin raising money and testing the waters as a candidate.

“I think I can make a difference. In particular, when I look at the challenge of creating jobs, I have a unique set of experiences I can bring to the table,” said Beutner.

Beutner, who comes from an investment banking background, was chosen by Villaraigosa in January 2010 to become the city’s chief executive of economic and business policy — a position that was created especially for him.  Charged with the task of making the city more business friendly, Beutner will continue that business focus by emphasizing job creation in his campaign.

“The stated unemployment rate is about 13 percent. I think that understates it by a lot,” he said. “If you include those who quit looking for work or are underemployed, I think we’re closer to 20 percent. To me that is a five-alarm fire. We’ve got to fix that.”

Beutner added that the most important thing he has learn from the mayor incumbent is to work hard and not rest until a problem has been addressed.

When asked how he would govern differently, Beutner said,”We’re different people. We have differently life experiences. It may surprise many people to know we get along really well. We talk all the time. I very much appreciate, as an Angeleno, his tireless efforts to make a difference. Does that mean we agree on everything? Of course not.”

The deputy mayor has toiled in the relative shadows of city government for the last year will have a challenge overcoming the name  recognition of candidates like City Council President Eric Garcetti, County  Supervisor Zev Yaroslasky and Councilwoman Jan Perry.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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